About 2 or 3 Saturdays ago, a very credible source gave Jeff word that negotiations between the NHL and it's officials were not going well. In no hurry to rush into another story like last spring, we waited for a second source.
The Hockey News broke word on this earlier with news ECHL officials had been asked if they'd be replacement referees by the NHL. Great story, and the tip of the iceberg. With that, we might as well share what we were told.
THN and others have pointed out officials are unhappy with the way the league polices the officials. While I have no doubt that's part of the stand-off, the biggest issue is an obvious one, pay (Gasp, no way!). According to the source, the officials want what they deem a "fair pay raise", and have not been thrilled with what they have been offered in terms of salary and Per Diem, and were quote "insulted" with the offers they have received.
Says the source, "They see the contracts players are getting, they know the league is making more money then they were when the last CBA negotiations happened, yet they are being treated as an afterthought by the league".
Basically, there is an overwhelming sense of being taken for granted among on-ice officials, with training camp right around the corner, Gary Bettman and the rest of the crew cruising Toronto in the Mystery Machine need to work with a little urgency before we start talking about NHL officiating in the same way we do Major League Baseball umpiring and NBA officiating.